It has come up a few times this year.
Probably for the past month I’ve felt it more than ever before.
That sense of being weary and journey-worn.
I’m sure more than once I’ve mentally responded to the usual, “How are you?”, with “I’m tired.”
It’s been a big year. More so than anticipated.
I think I underestimated how draining full-time work can be on the body, mind and soul. I’ve only just realised that I’ve been trying to play Superwoman for most of this year and it hasn’t been a healthy outcome. I’ve been stressed, I’ve felt like a failure when I can’t execute tasks as well as I thought I should be… so close to burning out…
BUT not yet. And let’s hope never.
It’s time to change strategies. Actually, it’s time to change the mind, or more importantly renew the mind.
To know and be known.
To understand and be understood.
To accept and be accepted.
To encourage and be encouraged.
To learn from and learn with.
To trust and be trusted.
To love and be loved.
Is there nothing better than a friendship that has Christ at the centre?
There is nothing quite like it.
Thank you for friends such as these.
In my heart of hearts, I’ve always wanted to do what was right in the eyes of God. I love Him and want to do what pleases Him. And so, I sought the Lord earlier this week about how to deal with a certain situation before setting about my daily routine.
As I continued in my Bible reading plan, this passage jumped out at me from the pages:
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.
19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.
– Genesis 50:14-19
What sparked my interest was how Joseph dealt with his brothers. He extended grace to the people who had intentionally tried to cause him harm. He knew that whatever circumstances that occurred in his life, God would turn it all for good and in knowing that, he could love His brothers like God does – unconditionally, regardless of what good or bad they had done to him.
I went out for a walk and had my phone playlist on shuffle. After a song or two, a message came up from Elevation Church entitled, ‘The Fine Art of Friendship’ and in my head, I was like: ‘NO WAY! You are too awesome, God!’
I listened intently and what stood out this time was this statement: “The greatest offence of the Gospel is sacrificial love.” When we love each other sacrificially, no one can argue with us.
I mulled on these thoughts for a day or two and considered my response to a person who had previously hurt me deeply. Unlike Joseph’s brothers, it was unintentionally but using human logic there was no need for me to continue loving that person as a friend. But God’s ways are higher than our ways. They don’t always make sense. I know to love like Christ, is to love regardless of a person’s offence. We were not deserving of God’s love, but He gave His LIFE for us. So to love like Christ is to extend grace especially to those who don’t deserve it.
I made the adjustments and there is peace :).
1 John 4:7-8 NIV
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Every movie starts with a script. It is impossible for a script to go into production without a rewrite.
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
…what also happens in our script is that there are characters that populate our script. And because of some things that happen, we invested in characters that don’t belong in our scene. There are people who are occupying places in our scene that don’t belong. So God has to do a rewrite to bring certain characters in and move some characters out. You cannot be so caught up in your scene that you don’t allow God to bring in the right people at the right time. There are some characters that you are holding onto right now that you’ve got to let go. You might have to cry over it, you might have to be depressed over it but let them go. Because God has the right character at the right time that he is waiting to write into your scene but because you were holding onto to that less than character, God says, “I have to wait. I have to wait until you let go and let me write into your scene the person that I need to come in.” Are you going to let God write the right characters into your life today?
What is interesting is that when we look at this process of being rewritten, so many times we don’t want to submit. We don’t want to give it up. We don’t want to allow God to do His work. But a script cannot move forward to production unless you submit to the process.
To hear the full message by Devon Franklin click here.
In a few days, it will be exactly a year that I left my home church of 22 years for the very last time. In the space of 365 days much has changed. God has been rewriting my script. He has brought new people, new friendships, new ministries, new vision and new inspirations. At first, I didn’t want to let go. We had so much history together. We shared our dreams, our hopes, our fears, our lives together. Surely, God wouldn’t ask me to give this up. Something that I held so dearly. But, in my limited capacity, I could only see what was before me while God could see what he wanted to bring into my life. Now I see and God? How awesome You are! I can see the growth, expanding of territory and ground. I know I am not the same girl I was when I walked away and though I treasured that season of my life, there’s no going back if I want to be all God has called me to be.
Edited 1:30pm, 11.04.12.
I’ve been in church since I was a few weeks old and through the years, I’ve heard/sung/played a countless number of hymns. There are some hymns that will always stick in your mind (i.e. ‘Amazing Grace’) and some that you only realise the significance of at different stages in your life. Last Sunday, one hymn became of the latter.
As I sung the words to ‘The Old Rugged Cross’, all of a sudden they weren’t just words on a screen, they were declarations from my heart:
Blog buddies. You’ve got to love them. Of all the people whom I’ve met first via the blogwaves before meeting them in person, I’ve become great friends with the majority of them. In many respects, it’s easier because you are already coming from a common interest and you’ve had little snapshots of insight into each other’s lives. Love it!
I got to catch up with a Perthie (now back in S’pore) during and after the COLOUR conference. It was so nice to just relax in another’s company and reflect on God’s goodness. The last time we caught up in Melbourne together we were still sharing about the turmoil going on in our lives (relationally) but now 1 year and about 3 months on, those topics are so far from mind and no longer consume our lives. Praise God!
I like a phrase she used. ‘[It] is not in my present nor in my future.’ Isn’t it grand when the door has been shut on certain areas of our lives and we no longer have to relive them? I silently said a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Thanking Him that He didn’t answer a certain prayer in the positive. Thankfully, He does know what is best. Perish the thought if I were still… *shudder*.
At COLOUR, Beth Moore shared her testimony. She didn’t give specifics but it was enough to know that she knew what she was talking about. One thing she challenged us to do was to bring whatever past mistakes, errors of judgements, hurts to God and leave them with Him. We never have to revisit them again once we’ve given it to Him. It’s gone. Nada. Finito. Fini. If God remembers our sins no more, why should we? In Christ, you have a new beginning! Praise God, the God of second chances! And praise God for blogging friends who you can share life with :D.
For your prayers.
They actually started to make a difference last night already.
I felt myself calm down, my perspective change and stress levels diminish. Somehow I got it in my head that I needed to finish all my readings before each class… I haven’t had that notion since first year of law lol. That was what had freaked me out. It is also possible to have seen the whole situation as being a spiritual attack as well. I had actually contemplated tossing in the towel and not to share this coming Saturday. I’d begun mediating on the thoughts that I don’t have what it takes, I don’t have the time, it won’t make a difference anyway etc. Praise God for the prayers of the faithful and intercession of friends and family to get me out of that negativity hole. I woke up this morning feeling more like myself, ready to meet the world with open arms. The circumstances were no different from when I woke up on Monday morning but my perception of the circumstances had shifted. And that has made all the difference :).
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
His grace is sufficient to meet all my needs.
I am not a victim of my circumstances but a victor of my adversity.
Before this goes public on my main blog, I thought I’d post the link here to a special video message from this side of the blogosphere :).
Be safe wherever you are in the world and may you have the opportunity to experience the true joy, peace and hope that is celebrated at Christmas time :).
Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here and here.
I remember the day I told him. I felt like we were such good friends so why wouldn’t I? I think I had an inkling that he was harbouring feelings for me but as he never verbalised it, I didn’t think it should matter.
I told him about the boy who’d expressed that he liked me (a story for another post). I told him how I knew that the boy must have been on the rebound and nothing was likely to come of it. I joked about it but he didn’t say much in response.
I just put it down to it being one of his off-days. However, the next day, a full-blown confession waited for me in my inbox. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. I also was a few weeks away from the exams of my final semester so I asked for his patience which he had no choice but to give. I left him in the dark for the next month as my friendship with the other boy unexpectedly accelerated into something I had neither anticipated or foreseen – it had all the markings of a relationship though it was never officially labelled as one.
Anyway, the time came when he requested a meeting with me. I told him it was horrible timing as my grandma also had just gone into hospital (that was true) but if I was being honest, I just didn’t know how to handle it. I cared for him deeply but I also knew my heart wasn’t where his was. So I asked for more time. He told me later about how that period had been the darkest for him. And that was when his own journey began…
I felt so alone. One night I just prayed to God. I prayed for Him to help me. I prayed that I would do anything, absolutely anything if He would just take this pain away. Right then, I felt the pain go away. I continued to pray. I prayed for Him to take away all my burdens and my anger. That night I gave my life for God. I told Him, ‘Here is my life take it, everything I have planned, everything I did has failed. Take it and show me your plans, for I know that Your plans never fail, that your plans are amazing beyond my imagination.’ As I kept on praying, these waves of love were coming and healing me. I was no longer in pain. It is a feeling that is beyond words. That week I must have prayed over 1000 times. Not for myself only but for you as well.
You may wonder why I am so transparent with these stories that are so obviously written from or based on personal experience. I find that once I am able to talk/write about an event, I know that it has become a subject of the past and no longer hangs over the present. It’s therapeutic and I think a necessary part of any form of ‘letting go’. Dear FFL, if you still read this blog, I hope you’ll understand my need to share this.
How wonderful it is to experience the freedom that can be found only in Christ.
How wonderful it is to feel genuine happiness for someone who has hurt you in the past.
How wonderful it is to be fully released from disappointment, hurt and sadness.
How wonderful it is to clearly see the evidence of growth and maturity in yourself.
How wonderful it is to be at peace with the world and with those around you.
How wonderful it is to know that you are living the life you were meant to live.
How wonderful it is to be alone but never lonely.
How wonderful it is to live in complete liberty – only possible by the power of God.